Crashes as a result of driver distraction can lead to deaths, as well as serious life threatening injuries. These can include hospitalisation, rehabilitation and sometimes a lifetime of care.
The number of distracted drivers is increasing with more people using smart phones while driving, in car entertainment/electronics, as well as other distractions such as looking at something on the side of the road, eating food, drinking a coffee, chatting to passengers, or by people being emotionally upset. These distractions can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel and their minds on something else other than concentrating on driving. A distraction for more than a second can significantly increase the likelihood of a crash or near crash.
Using a mobile/smartphone whilst driving is one of the highest causes (inside the vehicle) of driver distraction crashes especially within the 20 to 39 age group.
A driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash when texting on a mobile phone while driving.
Auckland regional all attention/distracted crash statistics 2013 - 2018 (NZ Transport Agency statistics)
In the Auckland region between 2013-2018, there were *277 serious injuries to drivers who had their attention diverted, as well as 26 deaths.
Using your mobile phone while driving impairs your driving performance in several ways:
- Slower reaction time especially when braking.
- Reduced peripheral vision.
- Impaired ability to stay in the correct lane.
- Shorter following distances.
Don’t be tempted to use a hand held mobile phone in the car. In addition to the risks to yourself and others, it is against the law and you risk a $80 penalty fine and 20 demerit points.
AT is supporting NZ Police at checkpoints and targeted events to engage with drivers, raise awareness and promote safe road user behaviour.
*NZTA Crash Analysis System (CAS) Data
Handy information and advice on driver distraction
Reduce the risk and just put your phone away while driving and do not answer calls or texts.
- Safer Journeys website: http://www.saferjourneys.govt.nz
- NZ Transport Agency distraction resources
- Get more information about the demerit points for mobile phone-related offences and rules about mobile use from the NZTA website.
The first ‘Sophie’ video shown below focussed on the serious effects of a driver distraction car crash which were life-changing for Sophie. It highlighted how using a mobile phone in the car can lead to serious injuries:
The initial ‘Sophie’ campaign (launched April 2017) focussed on the serious effects of a driver distraction car crash which were life-changing for Sophie.
The subsequent campaign shows how these injuries continue to have a huge social and emotional impact on Sophie six months on. We see her best friend Anita enjoying a road trip and Rhythm & Vines music festival while Sophie’s life has stood still. She struggles to find the energy to get through the day, while undertaking intensive therapy in her recovery process as a result of brain injury and physical trauma.
We thank the staff at ABI rehabilitation for their assistance in making this campaign video.